poolscaping with different plants

Beginner’s Guide to Poolscaping: Build a Garden around Your Pool

If you’re the lucky owner of a backyard pool, then you might already know what poolscaping entails. As the name clearly suggests, poolscaping refers to the practice of adjusting the landscape in your garden in order to accommodate and accentuate the pool. Having a pool doesn’t mean you can’t have a garden as well. While having both means you have to consider some factors that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise, it also means you’ll get to enjoy both a lovely garden and a gorgeous pool. If you’re new to poolscaping, we’re going to teach you the basics today.

Poolscaping Basics: The Full Beginner’s Guide

Choose the Proper Plants

The first and most important thing you have to consider when poolscaping are the plants you want to grow next to the pool. That’s because not all plants are suitable for this kind of environment. We advise you to take your time doing research on this before planting anything because you run the risk of damaging the entire poolscape design. We understand the temptation of growing your favorite plants near the pool is big, but some of them might not work there.

For instance, trees that shed are always a no when it comes to poolscaping. Image how you’re going to have to clean that mess every time they shed. Plants that have spines or thorns should also be planted carefully. If you plant them too close to the pool, they might hurt the people sitting by the pool or swimming. Other types of plants have roots that are quite invasive, which means they might disturb the structure of the pool. Let’s look a bit more closely at a couple of plant options and learn more about them.

1. Trees That Shed

Trees that bear flowers and fruits are some of the most beautiful plants you could grow in a garden. Growing them near a pool is a completely different situation. That’s because they leave behind needles, leaves, flowers, fruits, and so on, which are not things you want to have in your pool or around it.

2. Plants with Thorns/Spines

Whatever you do, you should always stay away from plants that have spines or thorns when poolscaping. They can be real safety hazards. Since people don’t really wear a full bodysuit when they’re at the pool, they’re more likely to hurt themselves by accidentally standing too close to such plants. Unfortunately, this means you shouldn’t plant roses next to the pool. Barberry, bougainvillea, pyracantha, blackberry bushes, cactus, and succulents are also out of the question.

3. Plants with Invasive Roots

Plants that tend to grow really sturdy and long roots are unfit for poolscaping. Even if at the beginning, when the plants are quite small, you won’t notice anything wrong, in the future, as they start to develop, they’ll damage the area surrounding the pool and even the pool itself. The pool’s plumbing system is also in danger due to such plants. So if you want to avoid having to redo the entire pool area, you should do some research and see which plants have invasive roots. Some examples would be oak trees, elm trees, and ficus trees.

4. Low-Maintenance Plants

One of the most important things about poolscaping is that it doesn’t have to be a chore for you. Once you’re done planting whatever it is you want to grow, you should be able to enjoy the view and the way the plants complement the pool, not spend hours taking care of them and making sure they look perfect. That’s why we recommend considering low-maintenance plants. Since you’re going to plant them in the pool area, you might have a hard time accessing them at all times. Which is why you have to choose plants that you know will develop just fine without your assistance.

5. Evergreens Vs. Deciduous

When deciding on the best plants for your poolscape, you also have to consider what you like best between evergreens and deciduous. Let’s take the liquidamber tree. This is a truly gorgeous tree that changes colors. This means you’ll be able to enjoy different shades at different times of the year. At the same time, it also means you’ll have a lot of sweeping to do when the leaves shed. If we were to take the evergreen Italian Cypress, you wouldn’t be as lucky color wise, but you also wouldn’t have to worry about sweeping that much. It all depends on what you’re willing to sacrifice for a beautiful poolscape.

6. Plants That Attract Bees

Typically, when it comes to plants that are suitable for gardens, people are encouraged to choose varieties that attract bees, hummingbirds, and all sorts of creatures. That’s because they help with pollination, which is definitely an added benefit. Still, when it comes to growing plants by the pool, those varieties that attract bees are not as desirable anymore. After all, you wouldn’t want the bees stinging you and your guests while you’re relaxing by the pool. A couple of the plants you should avoid are cosmos, columbine, delphinium, oregano, larkspur, salvias, wisteria, and sweet clovers.

bee on a purple flowers

7. Small Plants

Small plants are a definite yes when it comes to the most appropriate plants for poolscaping. That’s because you don’t want them overshadowing the pool. The whole point of growing plants next to the pool is for them to accentuate its look and provide you with an oasis where you can swim, relax, and enjoy the nice weather. Keep in mind the maximum size of the plants you buy, not their size when you buy them. If you fail to do so, you might end up with plants that grow way larger than you thought they would, and that don’t properly fit around the pool.

8. Exotic Vs. Native Plants

The last thing we want to urge you to consider when it comes to poolscaping plants is whether you want to plant exotic or native ones. You might be tempted to instantly reply exotic, but you have to be realistic and acknowledge the fact that most exotic plants won’t develop properly in your area. This means you might spend your money for nothing. Typically, if you’re browsing for plants on local websites or in local stores, you’re going to find options that are suitable for your area. If there’s something you find on a foreign website, at least check whether you’ll be able to grow it in your backyard or not before you order it.

Consider These Other Aspects for Perfect Poolscaping

1. Privacy

Now that you know more about the kinds of plants that are suitable for poolscaping, it’s time to focus a bit on some other aspects of this activity as well. One of the most relevant ones is privacy. Especially if the fence surrounding your backyard doesn’t provide you with full privacy, you should consider adding some extra privacy features by the pool. After all, when you’re relaxing there, you want to make sure no one disturbs you. Something you could do is plant bushes around the pool, which will serve as a natural fence. The trick is to choose bush varieties which grow tall enough to accomplish that.

2. Beauty

Of course, we couldn’t look at poolscaping without considering beauty. In the end, one of the main purposes of this activity is to make your pool area nicer, and provide you with the benefits of both a pool and a garden. That’s why you should never plant anything you don’t like, as suitable as it may be for poolscaping. It’s not just about what it’s suitable, it’s about what you think looks good as well. Fortunately, there are plenty of plant options to choose from. So you will eventually find something that you think looks beautiful next to your pool.

3. Safety

We already mentioned safety in what concerns plants with thorns and bees. However, we didn’t yet mention safety when you have children. In the case of families with children, building a fence around the pool is a must, and you should never forget about this aspect. Since we know a fence might disturb the poolscape you struggled so much to create, we have a suggestion for you. Plant vines next to it and allow them to climb on the fence. This will make it look much more natural and beautiful.

three children in a pool

Moreover, make sure you install outdoor lighting around and near the pool. The pool should be visible at all times to avoid any unfortunate accidents. We recommend these Submersible LED Light from TopistIf you want to make sure people won’t slip and hurt themselves when coming out of the pool, you should build a pool deck made of wood or a brick patio around the pool.

Summing It All Up

While poolscaping is not mandatory for all people who own a pool, it’s something everyone should at least consider. Especially people who also enjoy gardening and who like to be surrounded by plants. Poolscaping can change the look of your backyard entirely, and it will definitely turn it into a place where you and your loved ones can spend long afternoons swimming, relaxing, and enjoying each other’s company.

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Bonnie Enos

I spend my time in my garden trying to create the greatest outdoor space possible. My garden is my happy place and where you will always find me on a nice day. I take my experience and share it here for you to read!

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